Tom Brady’s Career is Bookended by Alabama Alumni
The greatest quarterback to ever pass the pigskin announced the end of his illustrious career on Feb 1 with a brief video taken as he sat on the beach. Tom Brady spent more of his life as a National Football League quarterback than he did growing into the man that became one. In his 23 NFL seasons, he broke almost every significant record, was the MVP of the Super Bowl five times, and put as many championship rings on his hands as Nick Saban has.
Brady hails from San Mateo, Calif., played college ball in Michigan, and spent two decades with the New England Patriots before closing out his career in Tampa Bay, Fla. If you're having a hard time finding any connection to Tuscaloosa in his career, that's fair.
Nonetheless, two Crimson Tide alumni have played a significant role in Brady's career. One was there at the very beginning, another at the very end.
On Thanksgiving day at the start of the new millennium, Brady's Patriots visited the Detroit Lions and got their butts whooped. Towards the end of the game, Bill Belichick opted to pull starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe in order to see what his 6th round rookie had to offer. After two incompletions and a completion that was waved off due to a penalty, Brady completed his first NFL pass.
That ball was caught by former Alabama tight end Rod Rutledge, a Birmingham, Ala. native. Not much of note came from Rutledge's time in the NFL, but that game is likely a story he'll never stop telling.
23 years later, Brady and the Buccaneers got whooped by the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Down by a handful of scores with just over a minute to play, it would have made sense to kneel it out and wrap up the season, but that's not how the GOAT goes down.
Instead, Brady did what he could at the age of 45 and with a depleted offense to make the loss more respectable. They didn't put anymore points on the board, but Brady's final completion of his career came on that drive to another aged veteran; Alabama legend Julio Jones.